In celebration of GQ‘s “Men of the Year” issue, cover star Kendrick Lamar is suiting up. The Compton MC, who was named “Rapper of the Year,” gets dapper in the pages of the men’s magazine.
The 26-year-old rocks colorful suits and patterned shirts by Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Georgio Armani, and Ralph Lauren Black Label. The one-man band man rocks out on a guitar and plays the drums in the photos by Sebastian Kim.
In the interview, K-Dot reflects on his success and shares how a vision of Tupac influenced his approach to his music. He also speaks out about his relationship with Drake post-“Control” and what’s in store for his second album.
Plus, watch him spit a freestyle while stylists touch him up for his photo shoot.
Read highlights and see photos from the issue below.
On seeing Tupac in a vision when he was 21: “I was coming from a late studio session, sleeping on mom’s couch. I’m 26 now—it wasn’t that long ago. I remember being tired, tripping from the studio, lying down, and falling into a deep sleep and seeing a vision of Pac talking to me. Weirdest shit ever. I’m not huge on superstition and all that shit. That’s what made it so crazy. It can make you go nuts. Hearing somebody that you looked up to for years saying, ‘Don’t let the music die.’ Hearing it clear as day. Clear as day. Like he’s right there. Just a silhouette.”
On the state of his relationship with Drake: “Pretty cool.” Shrugs. “And I mean, I would be okay if we weren’t.”
On whether he views Drake as a role model: “No—peer. If anything. We all peers.”
On his rumored confrontations at Diddy’s VMA after-party: “It was all love at that party.”
On the sound of his second album, which he plans to start recording in January: “I don’t know. It depends on where my emotion is. How angry I’ll be, or how happy I’ll be, or how confused I’ll be.”
The December 2013 issue of GQ hits newsstands on Nov. 19. For the full story, visit GQ.com.